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Publisher's Letter

Jun 30, 2020 08:40AM ● By Peggy Malecki

Peggy Malecki

Awareness. An evolution. A change—no matter how we may describe it, it seems like we are hopefully planted on the path to a major shift in consciousness as people around the world are focusing on racial, social, economic, food, healthcare, technological and environmental injustices and divides. While 2020 hasn’t been the year that many envisioned last December 31, it is a year that may be looked upon by future generations as a catalyst for some of the biggest shifts to
equity, sustainability, wellness and balance our modern world has ever known.

Simply stated, our current approach is not sustainable or equitable for all people and the other beings and systems with which we share this Earth. The results are all around us, and now magnified as we’ve all been connected by the global pandemic that’s shining a light on the issues that challenge us. It’s our time and opportunity to embrace these difficult times, to go beyond our comfort zones and educate ourselves about the issues that face us and the topics we may have looked beyond until this point; and then to take consistent actions to support and make positive changes. The opportunities to get involved are everywhere. The conversations to start are endless. Start small. Or go big.

This month, we take a look at industrial “factory” farming and its effects on local communities and natural environments across the country. Many large-scale industrial farms (CAFOs) are located in rural areas, and they are pretty much invisible to most urban/suburban dwellers (other than through the supermarket and restaurant menus). Yet to those living in small towns, rural farms and tribal lands adjacent to these facilities, it’s often a different matter. On a related note, the effect of the pandemic on seasonal farm workers and others in agricultural support industries is also concerning in many ways.

Yes, it is finally SUMMER, even if we’re sticking close to home this year, and we’re happy to include many inspiring recipes for simple yet flavorful dishes for outdoor grilling, quick, plant-based lunches and backyard staycations. We’ve also got some great tips from gardening expert Melinda Meyers for using natural, safe methods to keep pests away from our veggie and flower gardens. You’ll find some great ideas for lawncare that’s safe for people, pets and the critters that share our yards. Speaking of critters, peruse Sheryl Devore’s monthly Natural Chicago article, where she introduces us to the beautiful butterflies that are commonly seen across our area.

It’s been a difficult and stressful year, and we’re grateful to our contributing authors for their ongoing encouragement and insights to help us get through with meditation, wellness, self-care tips, recipes and more. We hope you enjoy and learn from their articles, and we encourage you to share your paper copies of this magazine with friends, as well as the digital versions of these articles as featured on NAChicago.com across your social media accounts.

Stay well, friends. Be sure to step outside every day, take awe in nature’s beauty as the summer unfolds and learn something new. Grasp this opportunity to make a difference. In the words of John Lennon, “Imagine …” and then take daily action to make positive, lasting change happen in our world.

Peggy